Welcome to part 4 of our book study. Brenda at Primary Inspired wrote about Chapter 7: Do Text-dependent Questions Foster Engagement? and I'll be focusing on Question 8: Must Everyone Read the Same Book? I love the short answer that the authors give of: "...yes, at least from time to time."
I read books with my students in a variety of ways. We begin the year with a whole class novel. This allows me to model and teach all the students how I want them to respond in their notebooks and to introduce comprehension strategies, etc. I'm excited to add teaching the Notice and Note signposts to this beginning novel. I'm planning to use the book Maniac Magee this year. Last year I used Witches, but a 4th grade teacher used it as her end of year book and I just couldn't bring myself to start with a book many of them will have ended on last year. My teammate also does a class novel in December and we all do one again in May. I think I may add the December class novel to my plans as well.
We all read the same text daily from our text, Journey's. We term it shared reading in our district and the point is for every student to be reading the same text together. They are grade level so every student, regardless of reading level is exposed to grade appropriate level and instruction. This is the time I introduce sills to the whole class. We discuss comprehension and reading skills at this time. This is also the time I do some close reading with our basal story. It is my "to students" time of reading.
After the first class novel, students start literature circle groups. I choose 6 books, usually on a similar theme. I give a book cover intro to the class and let students choose. I only allow 8 in a group and usually start with my lowest readers so I can direct them to the books that are better suited to their levels. Once all 8 in a group are taken, students coming after have to choose a new book. Students who are disappointed they didn't get their first choice are often pleasantly surprised at how much they end up liking the book they get "stuck" with.
Then I have my guided reading groups, I usually choose shorter texts or articles for this instruction so we can focus on comprehension skills, close reading and fluency. I also try to do a lot of non-fiction. They get their novels and fiction in literature circles and choice reading.
I have a decent sized class library and students are always expected to read if they finish an assignment or feel like they have nothing to do. Of course I'm always looking to build my library, but my students seem to find some great treasures there and for the most part, they do choose to choice read when they have extra time.
I'm going to work more on the idea of becoming a community of readers this next year. I'm planning to have each literature circle group comment and converse in an edmodo group about their reading sections each week to help them be better prepared for the group conversations on Friday. I'm also planning to participate in the Global Read Aloud Project. You can find more information about joining that here. I'm looking forward to connecting with classrooms from around the world who are all reading the same book. We'll be reading The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm. It's a brand new book coming to print in August. You can view and purchase an advance copy of it by clicking the cover below.
I'd love to connect with any classes that decide to read along as well. The other choice that might be appropriate for fifth grade is One for the Murphys by Indy Mullaly Hunt. I understand that this one is a little more serious in nature with more heavy themes. I didn't think that was what I wanted to read near the beginning of the year. If you're interested in looking at this one, click on the cover below.
What is your way of balancing that everyone in the class gets some experiences all with the same book while still providing choice and accommodations to meet everyone's learning needs? Please add your comments or link up with us below.